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 A Legacy Forgotten

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PostSubject: A Legacy Forgotten   Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:38 pm

The trials were over. The vault lay waiting. Alec Smith, a small-town gunslinger; Smiley, a demon possessing a corpse; and Sandra, a failed science experiment. These three were now all that remained of Durender's Knights. The only champions it had in its darkest hour.

The Blight had been loosed upon the place. Devices and artifacts of great power turned against them. The journey into the vault's depths was a constant battle, but their strength prevailed. Scavenging what artifacts remained uncorrupted, they turned the tide against their foes, the former Knight Order of Durender. There were many strange things to be found there. A box with a label reading "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE END OF TIME." A necklace which unleashed unspeakable horror on whoever stole it. A piece of another world, suspended in space. The vault had many shelves and many objects, enough to spend hours perusing, but alas, their time was running out.

On one of the lower levels they found icons of the Gods. The Lyre of Kita, which when played, unlocked the answers within oneself. The alleged Shield of Vintar, a humble wooden buckler. The Lantern of Lothe, which revealed the hidden nature of the world. To avoid the wrath of the Gods, they each took but one item. Alec, who wore the cloak of Vintar's Champion, took the shield. Sandra took a locket belonging to Myra. Smiley took a vial of tears, extracted from Mordyr himself by the dragon god Tarshus the Crucifier.

The reason for their journey up to this point was about to reveal itself. Far below ground, the vault had been breached by a monstrous worm, opening it to all the creatures of the underworld. A coven of vampires, led by an Elder, had kidnapped Terri and her father, Tyrion, intending to harvest their blood to open one final door, which guarded the vault's greatest secret. The "key" which had been so vehemently sought for centuries was not shaped of metal, but was tied to the descendants of its guardian, Eleanor Duvedirfel.

Despite their desire to pillage the vault for themselves, the vampires would not risk it. A horror had followed Terri, as it had all of her days - the Dark One. It brought the Blight, a disease of the blood that corrupted flesh and brain and made one a slave to its will. So a tenuous alliance was formed - the three would-be Knights combined forces with the vampires to open the vault - preferably without harming Terri or her father.

The deal struck, the group proceeded into the antechamber. Here were some of the strangest artifacts they had yet seen...

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PostSubject: Re: A Legacy Forgotten   Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:08 am

A beating heart was suspended by metal prongs in a glass case. An inscription on the outside read, "THE HEART OF A GOD".

A brain was suspended in preservatives inside of a jar. The brain sparked and pulsated, as if inside of a living skull. Its sign read, "DO NOT LISTEN".

An ominous orb floated unassisted in its case, the air around it darkened and distorted. "KEEP AWAY".

A music box rested on a shelf inside its case, unopened but inviting. "NEVER OPEN AGAIN".

A book on a lectern, closed and fastened shut with a belt. "TO BE FORGOTTEN".

A compass dangled from a chain inside its own display case. "DO NOT FOLLOW".

Last of all, in a secluded corner, in a darkened case, stood an obelisk of obsidian. "BEWARE ITS KNOWLEDGE".

Alec stood still for a moment, observing all the pieces in the room. "...Chaos..." he muttered, slowly pacing over each sealed item. "...Everythin' here brings chaos. Don't know.. from what... but whatever we did, it brought things t' Aeria, things that the Numbers had t' fight." The answer was a bit cryptic for something coming out of Alec's mouth, he had to admit, but there wasn't much better a way to explain it.

"That explains all of the defenses," Sandra says. "And all of the random items in the upper floors. It's all a distraction from the stuff that actually needs to be down here." Sandra looks around at the objects on display - the beating heart, the brain in a jar, the compass, a floating orb, a locked book, and a tall black obelisk.

Alec wandered back to the locked door, standing beside Regent. He looked upon it. "...What're you thinkin'? I'll take anythin' right now."

The Regent frowns."It is a lock the likes of which I have never seen before. Custom-built, no doubt, and highly advanced for its time. I am no locksmith, granted, but it invokes a distant memory... that of the sort of lock I might place inside a safe."

"...A failsafe that locks itself indefinitely if the safe's forced open?" Alec mused, for he could think of no other lock one would put in a safe. "Well, that ain't reassurin' me much..."

"So we need to open it with a key," Smiley says.

"Or a combination," Sandra interjects. "Any idea what that could be?"

Alec looked down at his feet to examine the slot again, observing the shape of the slot. "Take a look, Sandra. This's meant fer somebody special. I don' reckon a Knight'll do. Ya wouldn' make a safe with a failsafe lock the same's the outer lock. So... who's our key this time 'round?"

"I'm not entirely sure," Sandra says. "If it's someone specific, then we can't open it, because whoever it was isn't alive today... Tairne Welfyr built this vault, presumably. But he wasn't a knight... who would he trust that wielded a sword? Vintar himself?"

"You got his shield, didn't you?" Smiley says. "Maybe that's the key!"

Alec had almost forgotten about that shield. Sitting on his back, it was like a part of the armor, a second skin. He reached for his back. Sliding along the surface of the armor, it was loosed from the cloak and came to rest in Alec's hands. The shield is a battered wooden kite shield, and thus has a pointed end which fits neatly into the slot. Nothing happens.

"...Well, it was worth a shot," Sandra says. "There must be more to it."

Alec gets up, and tries to remove the shield, just incase some surprise were in store. "Good try, Smiley." He'd eye the vault door. "Whatever we need t'do t' get through here, the Blightcaster's a'ready done it, n' he didn' have the shield..."

The Regent steps up to the door, eyeing it closely. "These pieces here... they look manipulable. Perhaps in the right configuration..."

Sandra looks at the mechanism. "We don't have time to guess."

"Maybe they wrote the combination down somewhere," Smiley says.

"And why would they do that?" Sandra says with frustration. "We're just gonna have to blast it open, somehow."

"Hang on. Blastin's not gonna cut it. We managed t' bend apart two plates'a tolerum at an angle 'cause it had faults. This's one plate, n' a'reckon it's layered over others with some other materials between 'em. There ain't any way we're blastin' through with brute force, Sandra. Keep yer head cool."

Sandra takes a deep breath, clearing her head. "Okay, there has to be some way of figuring out the combination. Some of the knights probably knew it, except they're all dead or blighted..." she continues thinking, eyes fixed on the door and its workings.

Smiley looks around the room, on the floors, walls, and ceiling. She looks at the strange objects with curiosity.

"We're gonna have t' draw correlations another way... A'right. Regent, how many pieces are there, by yer count?"

"Seven," the Regent answers. "Surely they can't be part of the opening mechanism... could they?"

"They could be part of the solution," Sandra speculates. "Seven objects, seven gods... wait a minute."

Smiley, meanwhile, seems to gravitate towards the black obelisk.

"I was thinkin' the same thing," Alec said as he looked at Sandra. "Somethin' all the Knights knew. The trial'a Vintar. The order'a the trials." He eyed the lock. "All that's left is t' figure out how enter the order." He began to circle around the room. "A'right, let's assume the digits on the lock are numbered from one t' seven, goin' left t' right... What's our one t' seven on these objects, n' who do they belong to?"

Alec had begun to walk around and read the inscriptions and warnings on the display of each object again for clues.

"A second set of icons..." Sandra says with surprise. "Yet all of these seem... malicious."

"So they seem," the Regent says, turning to her, "but seeming malicious and being malicious are two different things."

"I've seen this somewhere before," Smiley says all of a sudden. She is gesturing to the obelisk.

Alec turns to Smiley, staring at her. "What? Explain yerself, Smiley." He approached the obelisk and inspected its display again.

BEWARE ITS KNOWLEDGE is written on the warning at the base of the obelisk. It is made of an obsidian substance that bears an uncanny resemblance to Alec's cloak, but it has no affiliation with the Way Matrix at all. Near it, one can feel the weight of ages upon it. Whatever it is, it is unfathomably old.

Alec stared at the obelisk. He reached out, as though intending to touch it, but withdrew on some intuitive reflex. "...I reckon... this one's Scilla's," he said somewhat vacantly, like it had also struck him as familiar.

"I think I know what the orb is. If it's what I think it is..." Sandra says. "...It could be Mordyr's."

"The brain is Tyra's," Regent says. "Perhaps not his actual brain, but it... hungers. I am no stranger to such desire."

"Could the heart be Vintar?" Smiley asks. "It's still beating, even after all this time in a dusty old vault."

Alec peers at the music box. "Myra's the goddess'a forgiveness... this's Myra's. Nothin' ever felt so unforgivin' t' me before." He turned to peer at the book and compass. "N' that leaves two."

Alec glanced at Sandra once more. "Who're we missin' ?"

"Lothe and Kita," she says. "Lothe seems like the obvious choice for a book, which leaves the compass for Kita. I think that's right..."

Alec looked over the objects, numbering them in his head, mirroring their positions relative to the door. Eyeing the digits, he figured they were simply buttons or switches. He began to press them in the order of the trials, and spoke an eerie message as he did. "Keep away to be forgotten. Do not listen, do not follow. Never open again, beware its knowledge: the heart of a god." He pressed moved the final piece.

Alec turned back to the slot in the floor. As before, he took Vintar's shield, as it felt appropriate. Kneeling before the slot, facing the door, the gunman inserted the shield, point first.

The mighty door comes to life. The levers and gearshifts turn and unlatch, and in the center, a small aperture opens. Just within it is a rippling black fluid.

Alec rises to his feet and places the shield on his back again. "...That wasn't part'a the puzzle," he informed the others. "..That was the warnin'."

"Is that what's inside? The heart of a god?" Sandra wonders aloud.

"Why would a god's heart be so covetous?" Regent says. "Such a thing would be an object of great power, yes, but nothing that would upset the balance of power in the sphere."

"Depends on the god," Smiley says.

"There's only one god," Alec said, essentially correcting them all. "The rest that call 'emselves that got all their power from everythin' it made. Welfyr was a smart man. I reckon he must'a figured that one out." Alec then paused, surprised that he would know that.

The Regent looks ready to say something, but stops himself. He merely nods his head in agreement.

"Interesting, but the door's still closed," Sandra says. "It just opened up that little slot... you don't stick your hand in there, do you?"

"Looks a bit small for that," Smiley adds. "But that black stuff kinda looks like your cloak and that obelisk."

"I know," Alec said. "It ain't, though. It's more... raw. Makes me wonder if the Knights were ever meant t' pass through 'ere t' begin with... it's feelin' less n' less like this was made fer them." Alec approached the opening. "I ain't too sure what t' do 'bout this, t'be honest. If the cloak's any clue, I'm supposed t' do somethin' like take control'a the fluid, n' part the door n' waters. Reckon if it's the raw stuff, there ain't any restriction's keepin' someone from doin' that, but who knows. Well, here goes nothin'."

Alec had a feeling that wherever this 'raw' stuff came from, it was probably incredibly dangerous, and not to mention, full of raw, unrelenting, unforgiving energy, some of which he would feel as heat, for sure... Who knows what other calamities could befall him if he failed to control the substance. Bearing that in mind, the gunman extended the presence of his sacred field through the cloak, and extended the presence of the cloak out to touch the pooling fluid. Even with his mastery, he didn't entirely trust himself to do this right, but perhaps if he could use the cloak's ability to replicate itself, the cloak could be his medium of control. Alec attempted to spread the cloak through the flowing dark fluid, and if successful, push the flow apart, to the sides, and perhaps force the doors open further in the process.

Alec fails to take control of the substance. A powerful backlash sends a surge of energy straight into him, travelling through his cloak like a wire. Just when it seems like the substance will kill him, it pauses, easing away from his hand like a cornered animal. Small feelers emerge from the rippling surface of the fluid, touching Alec's hand and the cloak around it.

Alec is struck by the energy, and he immediately attempts to reel back and scramble away, but he is caught, stuck and just about powerless. Then, he is released. Alec watches with confusion as his hand is inspected. It felt strangely familiar, like the times Redwell seemingly possessed the cloak against Alec's will. For whatever reason, Alec tried talking to the wall. "...Who are ya?"

The substance attempts to reestablish the connection between them. As its feelers probe Alec's cloak, he receives flashes of emotion. It understands him, and is prepared to resist again if threatened.

Alec hesitantly allows the connection, relaxing his control over the cloak. The cloak's passive workings don't appear to hinder this connection, either, and do not try to purge the substance, probably due to Alec keeping the mechanism at bay.

The substance does not try to harm Alec or his cloak. Instead, it merely seems curious. Its purpose suddenly becomes clear in Alec's mind, perhaps planted there by this intelligence. It is the final barrier to entry. It decides who may enter. To do that, it must determine who Alec is.

What an absurd question. Alec knew who he was. How could he explain that to someone else, though? Time, actions, conversations, conflicts, decisions, deliberations, many things would eventually define him to a person with enough interaction. But like this, he didn't know what to do. So he shrugged. "How?"

The entity presents Alec with an image of the locked door opening. Alec is standing behind the door.

Alec stared at the aperture with disbelief. "I ain't a fan'a metaphors, guy... Whatever, I'll try." Alec thought back to his encounter with Lord Volucris, and their mental exchange. It was a long time ago, but he remembered how it was done. Alec opened his mind up. But it was a two way exchange, and he wondered if something would slip in from the other side, as before.

The entity probes Alec's innermost thoughts. It is likely to be a deeply uncomfortable experience, having an alien intelligence sift through the mind's contents, stirring up things long buried, learning things that common sense would keep hidden from anyone else. But after a minute or two of this unpleasantness, and concerned looks from all of Alec's companions, the feelers retract, and with a blast of air, the door unseals itself and slowly swings outward.

Alec lowers his arm and takes a step back. His helmet protects him from the gust, allowing him to see within as the door is at last opened. "...Well, now that the hard part's over," he mumbled. "...Got'a wonder how the bad guys got through tha' one, though."

Behind the door is a massive chamber with a domed ceiling webbed with massive tolerum supports. The entire chamber seems lined with the stuff, and is at least one hundred meters in diameter. And then there is the floor. The tolerum plating does not extend all the way to the walls of the chamber... because it's merely a walkway. At regular intervals are braziers of unknown origin, which provide dim light. There is also a bright light emanating from below, but its source can not be glimpsed from here. In fact, the chamber appears bottomless.

"Impossible..." Sandra says, awestruck.

"And yet it exists," the Regent replies. "There is extraordinary power here."

Alec felt extroardinary familiarity with the room, despite having never entered. It wasn't even the room itself, but something in it. He began stepping forward, crossing the walkway. "...the Heart," he said, as he went to peer over the edge of the walkway and into the light source.

A set of walkways spirals down the perimeter of the room, towards a large black sphere suspended in the center. The glow is not from the sphere itself, but beyond. Inside the massive chamber, far below them, arcane tempests rage, and strange points of light flit about like insects at a candle. Farther down still is a light brighter even than the sun. Though barely a pinprick, it lights the entire chamber. Could it be?

Alec's steps halted the moment he was able to see down the abyss. This time, he repeated his words with more certainty. "The Heart... He did know." As though caught in a trance, Alec was left staring down at the pinprick revealing one of the world's greatest secrets to him.

"I don't see the blight-caster," Sandra says, not noticing Alec's trancelike state.

"He must be here," responds the Regent. "Unless..."

"Think fast!" Smiley fakes pushing Alec over the edge, only to keep hold of him.

Alec didn't actually budge. It was only after Smiley was hugging him that he took notice, and looked at her. "Hm? What?" He looked around. The words that were spoken had processed long after their utterance, and Alec caught up with the conversation. "Well... there's no second-guessin' anymore. We keep advancin'. He's bound t' show himself when we get too close t' the prize."

"...Anyone feel that?" Sandra asks. Shortly thereafter, the platform they're on can be felt shaking.

"He never got past the final door. He couldn't stop us either, so he... let us pass." As the Regent finishes his sentence, a terrible crash comes from somewhere behind the door. The door which is still open.

Die standing.
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PostSubject: THE FINAL BATTLE - PART 1   Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:40 am

Appropriate battle music

The mighty door begins to close, but it is too late. The tunnelworm, dozens of feet long and driven mad by blight, bursts into the chamber at breakneck speed.

Though taken off-guard, Alec's reflexes prevail. In an instant Unbreakable is in his hand, aimed behind him, with his head turned back just enough to put the tunnelworm in the corner of his gaze. The cloak envelops the gun, fueling its enchantment as a barrier of pure force rises to meet the advancing worm. Alec did not hit the worm, or the tolerum vault, as either would have absorbed the magic. Instead he struck his own cloak's material as it hovered over the barrel of the gun, making the barrier appear in mid-air.

The worm impacts the barrier with tremendous force. Its scimitar-like teeth, nigh indestructible, are not shattered, but instead forced into the worm's flesh as its body collapses against the invisible wall. Despite the fatal impact, it still moves. The teeth stab out from the sides of its body, wielded by homunculi of flesh. The blood that spills from the wounds collects in large pools, and raises itself of its own accord into animated blobs. Tiny white worms spill out, writhing on the ground and emitting small squeaking sounds as they blindly struggle. A boil forms on the top of the mighty worm, which bursts in a shower of pus to reveal three figures. Flanked by two Blightspawn is none other than the Dark One himself.

"And so it begins," speaks the Regent. A staff materializes in his hand, and he holds it out to Alec Smith. "This is the Root of Insurrection. Its simple wood hides a Lucium core. Its magic is fatal to undead like me, or Blighted abominations like him. You will wield it as we agreed."

Alec nods, preparing his own assortment of arcane arms, wielded by the prehensile cloak and his own two hands.

Sandra unsheathes another prize from the depths of the vault, one of the five Telekinetic Blades, once wielded by the Dragonslayers of Kerodil. By its unique properties, and her enhanced nature, the blade's power is magnified to untold heights.

Smiley uses a weapon devised by Alec for "dispensing" her natural demonic poison, in addition to the lightning which dances about her.

With a wave of its hand, the Dark One evaporates Alec's barrier. The homunculi, slimes, and Blightspawn charge forth to do battle.

Regent's shadow shatters into shades, which materialize in front of the advancing group, hacking and slashing at the blight with reckless abandon.

The Dark One reacts to this by... unholstering a pistol?

"That gun... a Simmons prototype, it must be!" Alec calls out. "Brace yourself!"

Ordinary magic was out of reach of blight-casters, for the virulent substance consumed spells before they left the body. But through the gun, containing a fragment of Simmons' own soul, the Dark One wielded magic like a mortal mage. In a single blast of pure light, the shades are dissolved into nothingness, leaving the Dark One's forces intact and unhindered.

Alec levels the Root, unleashing a blast of energy. The nearest homunculi begin to melt like wax, flesh ripping off as if by a powerful gale. They continue to advance, albeit more slowly, as some begin dropping to the ground lifelessly.

The pair of Blightspawn leap over the ranks of their weak homunculi brethren with demonic roars, bringing their maces down in mighty arcs. Sandra steps in with her blade, swinging as hard as she can. The very air distorts, the vast chamber echoing with the sound of the impact. The blade cuts into the Stygian armor as no other weapon could, but stops halfway through one of the creature's arms. With a snort, it drives its boot into her sternum, audibly cracking ribs.

The other Blightspawn swings at the Regent, but stops short. The vampire's hand is around the head of the mace, crushing the metal between his fingers. He drives his other fist into its chest hard enough to send it flying backwards, bowling over its comrades and leaving its weapon behind. The Regent casts the demonic mace over the edge of the platform.

Smiley douses the blight creatures in venom from her weapon, which causes incapacitating pain even to the half-living beasts. The slimes, lacking any nerves, are unhindered and move in on her, set to envelop her in living blood. She responds with lightning, conducted easily through their forms, frying them thoroughly. She is interrupted, however, by a fireball shot from the Dark One's gun. In an explosion of flames, she's sent tumbling to the ground in a smoking heap. Her armor, yet another Simmons prototype pilfered from the vault, saves her life.

Sandra struggles to her feet, her bones cracking as they set themselves back into place. The Blightspawn laughs deeply, ripping the Telekinetic Blade from its arm and wielding it alongside its mace. Tendrils of blight creep over the sword's surface, threatening to corrupt it forever.

"That's not yours," she says to it, drawing Solarius, her arcane six-shooter. The blade violently unleashes a burst of force, leaving a stump where the Blightspawn's hand once was. Before it can recover, Sandra shoves Solarius into one of its helmet's eyeholes and fires. Light with the intensity of the sun floods the creature's armor, rendering much of its body to ash.

Regent, meanwhile, fights fisticuffs with the other Blightspawn. The vampire is faster and stronger, but few things could damage Stygian armor, and bare fists were not among them. Still, getting struck repeatedly began to anger the beast, and eventually it flew into a berserk rage, a wild blow hitting the Regent hard enough to knock him down.

"Thanks!" Alec quips as he fires the staff at it. The suit of Stygian armor collapses to the ground in a heap, the only thing that remains of the Blightspawn. The Regent gets to his feet, rubbing his sore jaw and licking off a spot of blood on his lip. "I haven't taken a hit like that in centuries. What sport."

Having obliterated most of the blight vermin, Alec focuses the staff's immense power on the blightcaster itself. The Dark One raises its hands as if to shield itself from the energy washing over it, yet its form remains alarmingly unscathed.

As the energy beam surges forth, Sandra notices the worm's body shifting once more. "The worm! He's still drawing from it!" Clouds of blighted flies emerge from their pupae inside the creature, washing over the group like a black tide. All is obscured, and tendrils of rotted flesh lash out at the group.

Alec's aim is thrown off, and the beam slices through the swarm on its way to the ceiling. Regent tugs on the collar of his cloak, and a hood forms to protect his face from the blight infection. With a quick incantation, Sandra envelops herself and Smiley in a shield of force, protected but pinned down.

"Time to switch things up!" Smiley says. She switches the tank on her gun from poison to kerosene. A spark of electricity and what is perhaps Aeria's first flamethrower is brought to life. "Lower the barrier!"

Sandra does so, and jets of flame envelop the clouds of mutated insects, some of which as large as birds. Combined with blasts from Alec's staff, the clouds of flies and rotting tendrils are eradicated, leaving the platform covered in charred, melted gore. The smell is foul beyond measure.

The Dark One is revealed once more, still clutching the gun in its hand. Seeing its minions dead, it crushes the weapon in apparent anger and flings it over the edge. Reaching into its robes, it removes what is presumably another of the vault's artifacts: a metallic mask of unknown origin.

"No!" Alec yells, apparently more distraught at the loss of the unique Simmons weapon than the harrowing battle. "Sandra... do you trust me?"

"Not a great time for this," she responds, eyes on the Dark One and its mask, readying sword and pistol. "But yes!"

"You have to hold him off until I get back. The staff isn't enough, we need that gun." Without any more words, Alec dives off the platform.

"Alec, wha- Alec!" Sandra turns back toward the Dark One as the mask disappears into its hood.

"That's one of the lost To'Mire masks," says the Regent. "The dragons used them to assume human forms. But of some, it was said that-..."

The Dark One roars, the shockwave knocking the group backwards. A column of muscle bursts out of its body, attached to the head of a dragon. A blight dragon.

Die standing.
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